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Contemporary Architecture in the Arab States: Renaissance of a Region Hardcover – July 1, 1999

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ISBN-13: 978-0070368316 ISBN-10: 0070368317 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The first comprehensive reference on the modern architecture of the Middle East. In the 1960s, the Middle East discovered oil, and the economic and cultural impact of that discovery has caused a building boom unparalleled elsewhere in the world at any time in history. The vitality of the region is evidenced by an architectural style that, unlimited by monetary constraints, is opulent, and yet somehow manages to handle the extremes of climate and tradition successfully. This juxtaposition has remained largely undocumented, and no architectural study of the entire area has been attempted until now. McGraw-Hill's World Architecture series offers this groundbreaking resource, Udo Kultermann's Contemporary Architecture in the Arab States .Coupling case studies with over 100 never-before-seen illustrations, this volume chronicles modern architectural developments in the nations of Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen and Sudan. All types of buildings are discussed--from government offices and public spaces, to houses of education and religion. The featured examples include designs for both commercial and private clients. Beyond its value as a study of contemporary architecture, the book examines the implications of the region's new-found wealth, addresses the cultural and climatic parameters within which the buildings were designed, and explores the unlikely collaboration between large foreign architectural firms and their smaller, yet essential, Arab counterparts. Further, it discusses the cultural self-examination that must be undergone in redesigning ancient cities to coincide with modern needs.

About the Author

Dr. Udo Kultermann is Professor Emeritus of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and currently resides in New York City. He has published widely in the fields of art and architecture and is the author of more than 25 books, including Architecture of the 20th Century (which has sold more than 300,000 copies in five editions), New Directions in African Architecture, and Contemporary Architecture in Eastern Europe. Dr. Kultermann is an acknowledged authority on third-world, non-Western architecture and received his Ph.D. from the University of Muenster, Germany.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional; 1 edition (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070368317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070368316
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.2 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,688,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By bako on January 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is, without a doubt, a seminal work on Middle Eastern architecture.

Its focus, fortunately, is not on the plethora of Western companies and architects doing work in the Middle East (although it does mention these), but on local architects that are mostly unknown in the West, despite years of amazing work.

The names include Hassan Fathy, Mohamed Saleh Makiya, Rasem Badran, Rifat Chadirji, Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil, Kamal El-Kafrawi, and many others.
He also covers the many excellent buildings designed by Western architects who have shown a sensitivity to the locale.

What I found most impressive about the book is Kultermann's focus on local traditions and the cultures that spawned them, as well as his disdain for the international architecture that has no connection to the past or to the people it is designed for.

For someone with little knowledge of the architectural traditions of the Middle East, this is an invaluable introduction.
For Arab architects looking for inspiration from their predecessors, this book contains many projects and images as creative fodder.

It is rare when reading a book to feel as if the author has spent years in research, and still has a burning passion for the topic he is writing about.

The only drawback of this book is that it is from 1999, and I think a new edition with an extra chapter or two on the myriad of recent projects in the Gulf states, with Kultermann's unique perspective, is in order.

Sadly, I think that he would be devastated at the current state of architectural projects in the Middle East, which is why every prospecting client should read this book before they begin a project.
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